'American Pie' Singer Don McLean Pleads Guilty to Domestic Violence Charges Against Estranged Wife

"Don has been adamant since day one that he did not do what his now ex-wife said he did," says the singer's lawyer

Photo: Courtesy Knox County Jail

Songwriter Don McLean – perhaps best known for his classic 1971 song “American Pie” – accepted a plea deal in Maine on Thursday for several domestic violence misdemeanors against his estranged wife, PEOPLE learns.

McLean pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts of domestic violence assault, domestic violence criminal threatening, criminal mischief, and criminal restraint stemming from a mid-January incident, McLean’s defense attorney tells PEOPLE.

McLean, 70, was arrested six months ago at his home in Camden for domestic violence against his wife, Patrisha, who told investigators the musician has had a violent temper for decades.

She said in a January statement that McLean “terrorized” her for hours the night of his arrest. The statement added, “For the first 10 years or so, his rage was unfathomably deep and very scary.”

Patrisha McLean is a photographer who regularly exhibits her work. The couple separated after Don McLean’s arrest, and divorce proceedings are underway.

Walter McKee, McLean’s attorney, tells PEOPLE his client’s charges will be dismissed if he complies with the court’s orders over the next year.

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McLean must pay the court $3,000 in fines and avoid all contact with his wife for the next 12 months, McKee says, adding that McLean must also complete a mental health evaluation within the next 60 days.

“Don has been adamant since day one that he did not do what his now ex-wife said he did,” McKee says in a statement. “But in the end, he decided it was better to just resolve the case now and be done with it by entering pleas with zero jail, zero probation, and only fines.”

McLean rose to prominence during the early 1970s with “American Pie,” a song that has since been covered by dozens of artists, including Madonna.

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